ABC

The Bachelor And The Bachelorette: The Sequel

Before Nick decides on his final three, Andi Dorfman visits for no good reason at all.

Episode 9? Seriously? We're only on Episode 9? There absolutely can-NOT be four more episodes of this season. How could they milk eight more hours from this season? I guess we're about to find out, huh? It seems like I'll never not be staring at Nick Viall's dumb face. ...Huh, funny. That's exactly what one of these ladies will be saying for the rest of her life. Zing! Wait, what's that? Tonight's episode is only one hour? Please tell me that hour includes the finale and the Women Tell All. It doesn't? Okay. Fine. But thank god for small favors.

Oh Right…Andi Dorfman

As with so much of this season, I totally forgot the cliffhanger in the intervening seven days. So, that probably means that particular storytelling technique is working its magic, right? I guess what I'm really saying is: I don't know what the word "cliffhanger" means. We begin this week right where we left off last week, with former Bachelorette Andi Dorfman making a surprise visit to Nick's hotel room. I use the word surprise very loosely here, because "surprises" in this franchise aren't surprises as much as they are "produced moments of scripted bullshit." But they're played as surprises, for fun I assume, since they're never convincing. For an example of terrible acting, please see Andi Dorfman's "Hello, Nick" and "How are you doing?"

"Andi is the last person I ever thought I would see," Nick says, ruling out 1983-era Christie Brinkley, hockey legend Mario Lemieux, and 2013 Hugo Award-winning novelist John Scalzi in one fell swoop. "So, what the fuck is she doing here now?" Well, Nick, I'll tell you what she's not here to do. She's not here to profess her love for you or to beg her way onto the show, several episodes into the run of the show. I mean, who would ever do something as pathetic as that? Oh right, there was that one guy named Nick.

"To what do I owe this plezzzhhhrrr?" Nick marble-mouths at her. Oh, she was just in the neighborhood, driving by The William Vale Hotel in Brooklyn, and she was like, "I wonder if Nick Viall is staying there? I should stop by unannounced late at night to his hotel room and just see what's up!"

As the first woman to publicly break Nick's heart, and thus get him addicted to being on this franchise, Andi has stopped in to see where Nick's head is at this point in the proceedings. Nick brings up that the last time she knocked on his hotel room door, she broke up with him on national TV. Andi adds, "And now you're breaking up with 29 girls." And Nick says, "Maybe 30." This (mock) shocks Andi. He clarifies, "I'm not gonna get engaged just because I'm The Bachelor. I'm not gonna pick one just because she's the last person standing." Oh boy. Now I feel like we know for sure that Nick isn't going to pick anyone.

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Turns out that Andi is just there to give Nick advice. And her advice boils down to, sure, go ahead and have sex with the women. "You're entitled to do anything you want," Andi says. Not sure that's a responsible thing to tell him or any white male. But way to be a bro, Andi. Before she leaves, Andi offers him some final advice, "Be kind, have fun, and most importantly fall in love." I like the last part of this the best, because I feel like the "for fuck's sake" that should be on the tail end of that is totally implied. Somehow after his talk with Andi, Nick emerges more confident than ever that he'll find love. Not sure how that worked. But I've never understood a single thought that's gone through that guy's stupid head.

Finally, A Rose Ceremony

Chris Harrison escorts the women to a freezing rooftop to wait for Nick to arrive so he can begin the Rose Ceremony, our first in three weeks. Vanessa tells us she just doesn't feel special. Hmm, not sure what to tell you about that, Vanessa. "Specialness" is a weird expectation coming onto The Bachelor. But maybe this will help you, Vanessa: You're every bit as special as the other 29 women the producers invited onto this show. There. All better? Great! As Corinne walks into the ceremony in a dress that looks like it lost a battle with a considerably drunk pair of scissors, she says of Nick, "He knows me almost to the core now." For the record, Raven and Rachel also feel trepidation, but since we know the fate of one of them, it doesn't seem as dire. Because, let's face it, this HAS to be the week that Rachel goes home. We've had this information since Episode 7 and we're more than ready to see it come true. But first…the ladies wait. And shiver. While Nick chats with Andi in the warmth of his hotel room, sipping a whiskey. Ah, good times.

"I just want it to be over," Vanessa says, breaking into tears. Hey, you and me both, sister. Press the button on that suicide vest and make us all proud. What? You're not wearing one? Ugh! It's Homeland Season 1 all over again! "I love Nick so much," Corinne says, managing to sound about 37 percent convincing.

"This week was an amazing week. I want to thank each and every one of you. It was a truly amazing week," Nick says when he finally shows up. These are the things he says at every Rose Ceremony. Every week preceding was amazing, so amazing he has to thank the women, especially the ones he's sending home. Nick gives his first rose to Raven. The second goes to Rachel, which makes me FURIOUS. What in the name of ever-loving fuck is going on? It's been nearly a month since ABC announced Rachel as the next Bachelorette. This is the third straight episode since then, and she's gonna be in the next one for sure, which might be her last. I mean, it should be her last, but every one of these episodes should have been. For all any of us know, she'll be one of Nick's final two. They've really bungled this season on that count.

Then he gives the final rose to Vanessa, ending Corinne's reign of terror. She does her best to coax tears out of her soulless eyes, but it's really a terrible example of fake crying. It may be the worst in the show's history, probably because of all the smiling she does during it.

Letting Corinne go at this stage seems so bizarre. It's not like we thought she'd be around for a while. Nick obviously likes brunettes better than blondes. But why keep her around if not to have sex with her in the fantasy suite? Wasn't that the whole reason to keep her? Ugh. Yet another reason to hate Nick, because he can't even play the part of The Bachelor right.

During Corinne's exit, she totally comes across like she's so relieved. Watch her crying in the limo. She's smiling the whole time. The only way it could be more fake is if she was actually saying, "Boo hoo. Boo hoo!" Corinne even gives a poor performance of her Empowerment Moment in the limo. She says she feels like her heart will never be repaired. She wipes away invisible tears, which are the best kind of tears, because they don't smudge your makeup one bit. She says she's done trying to impress these men and love them and support them. She needs that. "I'm done," she says. "I'm done." And for the last time on this show, Corinne says, "I'm tired. I want to go to sleep." But in a disappointing move, the producers don't add in the snoring sound effect one last time.

A Lapland Date With Raven

"Hometowns was an amazing week," Nick says. My thesaurus gives me at least ten good synonyms for "amazing," but this show obviously doesn't have the budget for them. As a result, everything is amazing. Including Finland, which is where Nick takes the final three women. Romantic Finland! That's what they call it. Probably. Certainly someone somewhere at some point has called Finland "romantic." On the plane ride, Nick wonders, "What's different for me now than before?" Oh good, another crisis of confidence! "Maybe nothing," he adds. You're right about that, Nick, because you are still essentially a turd.

As Nick marvels at Lapland and being above the Arctic Circle, he sums up his expectations thusly: "My hope is this week really helps bring a clarity that I'm looking for." But here's the weird part. I watch this show with the closed captioning on (partially) to help decipher Nick's marble-mouthing. And according to the closed captioning, this is what Nick said: "My goal is to find someone that I fall in love with for the rest of my life." Hmmm, not really the same thing at all.

Nick spends a tedious few minutes recapping the three women. Until we finally get to Raven and how she's his first date. As they get on a helicopter that will fly them to Romance Town, Nick says, "I couldn't be more excited about getting this date started." Only it sounds more like this: "I cuddun bemorside bow geeingsaysarduh."

Raven still regrets not telling Nick, at the end of her hometown date (which was AMAZING), that she's in love with him. So she really wants to tell him here. But she's also nervous because of the Fantasy Suite, which isn't something she takes lightly at all. Or so she says. Over beers at a local pub, which actually says "local pub" over the door, Raven says, "We saw Finland from a helicopter, which was amazing." Of course it was. "I feel like this could be an everyday kind of thing, if we were together," she adds. Yep, every day with Nick will be spent helicoptering around Finland. Which will be amazing.

Raven tells Nick, "I'm a daddy's girl, that's for sure." Nick's reply to that is, "That's really important." And I honestly don't know what he means by that. How boring is the majority of Raven and Nick's conversation in the "local pub"? It includes the following line from Nick: "I hate folding clothes." Shortly after that, Nick then brags about being a "fantastic ironer." To which, Raven replies, "I will introduce you to a steamer. That will change your life." It's definitely the first time that a woman has promised to poop on the chest of a Bachelor, at least outside the Fantasy Suite. Unless she meant something other than a Cleveland Steamer? If that's the case, I don't really know what she was talking about.

"Why are you nervous?" Nick asks. "For multiple reasons," Raven replies. "More reasons than one." Yes, Raven, I know what "multiple" means. They have what feels like a forty-minute conversation about how they're both nervous about the Fantasy Suite. Rachel admits in a confessional moment that she's only had sex with one person, and she's never had an orgasm before. Oh, shit. And you're hoping Nick can do that for you? I'm afraid I have some very bad news for you. Actually, Nick does. I'll let him deliver it, or in this case not deliver it.

There is one pretty big thing that happens during Raven's confessional. Instead of using the euphemism of "taking the relationship to the next level," she just comes out and says that the Fantasy Suite would mean having sex with Nick at the end of the night. It's a pretty big breach of Bachelor protocol to say it so plainly. Which kind of makes her charming. Doomed, I'm guessing, but charming nonetheless.

Over dinner plates of untouched food, Nick and Raven have a ninety-minute conversation as she works up the courage to tell him she loves him. But the weird thing is, Nick pays attention. Unlike so many of the other women he's been on dates with, Nick actually seems to be engaged with Raven when she's talking to him. Normally, he checks out after about three dozen syllables. My wife points out that he stares at her like a serial killer, and sometimes this show seems like maybe Nick will murder the women one by one. To which I reply: Oh, if only Nick were that interesting!

After a few bracers of wine, Raven finally tells Nick she loves him. Nick says it's one of the most meaningful moments he's ever experienced. Raven does seem like she's being sincere. Which is so weird on this show. It's alien and nearly unwelcome here, like a moment of true empathy. "So, I have this," Nick says, offering her the Fantasy Suite card. The best part of the Fantasy Suite note is that it's always hand-written by Chris Harrison. It's that personal touch that makes him such a kind and loving pimp. Raven says, "I think going to the Fantasy Suite is a bigger deal for me than other girls here. I take sex so seriously." But she doesn't hesitate to say, "I definitely accept." She informs him that she's only been with one person, and that person never gave her an orgasm. And that's where we end.

Bonus Scene

Nick pretends to train in the snow like a boxer. He runs. He lifts branches over his head. He does pushups. He splits logs with an axe. He shadow-boxes. Please watch it so that you too can be dead from embarrassment.

Verdict

ABC really screwed this season up by leaking the Rachel news so early. But let's be honest, Nick screwed them even more. He's so fucking boring, they can hardly get a full season out of him. Remember Chris Soules's season? His season had a Sunday episode that was three hours, followed by a Monday episode that was two hours. Of course, Chris didn't burn through potential wives like Nick has. Oh well, the good news is that next week it's three hours of The Bachelor including the Women Tell All. Wait, did I say "good news"? I meant to say…please smother me in my sleep. Thank you.

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